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June 28, 2006

Balancing the Scales

Dean Ritz, citizen activist and Democracy School organizer, has a nice article in this week's Real Change entitled Balancing The Scales, in which he muses on the importance of seeing judicial races as the political races that they are.  Ritz writes:

... the public efforts to fund the elections of judges by organizations such as the Building Industry Association of Washington, the Washington Association of Realtors, the Washington Farm Bureau, and the Washington Restaurant Association speak to this single truth: The judiciary — particularly the judicial branches with jurisdiction over constitutional issues — is a political body. Judges get political scrutiny because judges make political decisions.

Ritz concludes with a call for active democratic participation in this fall's judicial races.

the most effective means of control is in our own minds. It is when we accept the myth of judicial infallibility. A belief that they know better. That they are objective. That judges are above politics. The Federalist Society, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Building Industry Association of Washington know better. We should, too.

Judicial decisions and their written opinions (from majority or dissenting judges) may inform us, inspire us, or awaken us to action. One of those actions is to secure judges who would advance the ideals of legal equality for all human beings. We can do this only when we forgo the illusion of judicial infallibility and instead treat constitutional courts and the justices on those benches as the political animals they are.

Good stuff.  In all the furor about Darcy Burner, Peter Goldmark, and the various ballot initiatives, it's important to keep an eye on the judicial races that will determine what laws stand in Washington.

Posted by Jon Stahl on June 28, 2006 at 09:09 PM in Candidate Races | Permalink

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